Do you know the difference between a bullying death and a choking game death?

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There’s a huge emphasis on bullying in the world of education right now and it deserves every bit of it. While the world focuses on bullying, there is a deadly game being played all over the United States – The Choking Game.

The Choking Game is not really a game at all – it’s a deadly drug. To play this so called game, children as young at seven have their friends (or they do it themselves) cut off blood flow to their brain by placing pressure around the neck. This “game” has been played for decades; I recall my friends playing it in high school more than 20 years ago. The cutting off the blood supply to the brain, oxygen is also cut off, creating a euphoric feeling. The person passes out and if they are really lucky, will wake up again.

However, not everyone is lucky enough to wake up again. And when they don’t their death is typically ruled a suicide. Why might you ask?

There are several reason for the suicide ruling. First, there is typically a lack of knowledge about the Choking Game and therefore the coroner would not think to look for the signs/symptoms. Second, people who play the Choking Game typically withdraw from their families and friends who don’t play. This often gets misinterpreted as bullying. You may be asking why this matters so much.

If unexpected deaths are incorrectly classified, schools may be spending valuable time and resources on programs that aren’t effective. Again, we do need to focus on bullying, but efforts should also be made to focus on the Choking Game, drug abuse, drinking and driving, and other harmful behaviors.

So, how do we know if a suicide death is due to the Choking Game?

The strangulation markings around the neck will be horizontal vs. the vertical marks due to hanging
The person may have bent or broken closet clothing rods
There may be belts, neckties, and other noose-making materials in their room
The person’s web browser cookies/history may have links to materials about the Choking Game (videos, etc…)
The person’s eyes may have blood spots in them
The person will start to exhibit drug-use like behaviors

To learn more about the Choking Game, take our free course on

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